The Battleship Building

Tuesday 25 April 2023 – London.

If I count weekends then this is day four of ten days off between jobs; next Monday is the May Day bank holiday in the UK. I’ve prepared myself a massive list of things that need to be done while I have both time and the mental capacity available. There is a massive backlog on the to-do list that I hope to get through, and getting though it will release the weight I feel building on my slowly sagging with age shoulders.

The break isn’t just going to be work and today I popped my camera into my day bag and caught the tube to Liverpool St just after 9. I was after some photos from the interior of the Barbican Centre and (forlornly) hoped that by getting there soon after it opens at 9:30 it would be quiet; I was then going to go on and find the magnificently named ‘Battleship Building’, which is located somewhere behind Paddington Station.


Arriving in the Barbican Centre I was frustrated to find it busy, with people huddled in conversation or slumped over expensive laptops in every corner and on every photographically nicely spread-out set of table and chairs. I should’ve realised this would be a popular place for remote workers and those who want to be seen hanging out in a creative environment. I bought an expensive coffee and took one of the few empty seats and joined those getting in the way of anyone who had the same mis-thought idea as I did. Perhaps we are all frustrated photographers waiting for space to clear?


I wandered about and took a few photos, though I didn’t really find much that excited me and just wished I had the wide-angle lens as it would have been useful; even more so at the Battleship.


The men’s bathroom is fantastic though, very mid-century modern. It must be one of the best looking urinals in England. Fortunately no-one was in here, or came in while I was taking this photo.



I hopped onto the tube to Paddington Station and found the Battleship Building easily enough, only taking one wrong turn down a dead-end street. It was cold among the mid-rise building canyons that have, and continue to be built behind the station.

The Battleship building was constructed during 1968 and 1969 as a maintenance depot for British Rail but was converted into offices in 2000. It sits under the very noisy (and equally iconic) Westway section of the A4 motorway. I might do a Westway photo-walk one day, it could be interesting, or equally it could be properly dull.


It was difficult to photograph with a standard 50mm lens as it is crowded between other buildings and a slip road; as I said just above I wished I had brought the wide angle lens with me as well.


The building isn’t particularly brutalist and doesn’t appear on the main Brutal London maps, though it has some classic brutalist features and is, in part, lovingly made from concrete; perhaps it’s too curvy, too faux art-deco? It’s a great looking building though, just difficult to photograph. Those concrete towers are great. 





I passed this great derelict frontage on my walk from Paddington to Oxford Circus to get the tube home, though I don’t recall where it is; my path was rather meandering. To meander is the best way to traverse inner London.